Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The "Hunt" begins!

Our first full day (second actual day) in Junosuando (Juno to the locals) started relatively early for Mariko and I.... breakfast was at 8am every day. And of course we went downstairs and were awake (mostly) and ready for breakfast......only to find out that it was only 7am (our phones were still set for Finnish time). The hour went by quickly, as we were checking out the event board and the town map. The other guests started coming down and soon breakfast was served and finished.

The activities for our first day were rather simple, we went tobogganing (sledding) down a medium sized hill. There was 10 of us sliding down the hill so it was rather busy and crowded going up and down. The temperature wasn't too cold, which means that we soon got rather hot with all the activity. I was proud of Mariko for going down the hill facefirst!! She hit the snow bank at the end with a marvolous explosion of snow in her face!! But the snow was so powdery it took her a few minutes to get up.

The Sledding hill empty of people

The rest of the day was mostly eating and getting to know some of the other guests. The first family was Australian (two parents and two children) and had been on a world tour since June. The second group was a friend of theirs, a father and his daughter from Stockholm, they were still waiting for mother and second daughter to arrive.

The third day started the same as all the others with breakfast and talking. Our activity for the day was "playing in the snow" and involved making a snow cave and ice blocks. It was surprisingly easy to make the ice blocks, and I think that I am going to try to build an Igloo next winter when we are
Little Sammy climbing our snow cave
back in Colorado. A couple from London had arrived with their young boy (Mariko thought that he was adorable), and they joined Mariko and I in our cave building.

Once again food and talking took up most of the day after that. By dinner time all the rest of the guests staying with us had arrived. After the Swedish mother and daughter arrived, the other group was once again from the UK. The mother and her two older daughters (18 and 20) were from Portsmouth, just an hour outside of London.

After dinner, which was our usual relaxing time, Mikael (the owner) said that he though he could see some Aurora on the Horizon.... we were all very excited since it had been cloudy up to this point. We all bundled up in our winter gear and trekked out past the city lights and looked up at the sky. We could some haze above the horizon, but other than a slight greenish tint it wasn't much.

Mikael asked if a group of us wanted to go out on a hike and see more lights, obviously Mariko and I jumped at the chance. We headed off with the Brits from Portsmouth hoping to see more lights. Mikael drove us a fair amount away and then pulled off the road. He then lead us into some trees, and then over a frozen river!! I felt rather safe though, he kept checking the ice as we walked. Past the river was a large open field, and the sky looked immense! There was almost no clouds in our entire view and the stars looked as if we could touch them.... almost like they were real, as if we were in a planetarium or such.

Mariko and I waiting for the Lights
The best photo of the first night seeing Lights
We sat there in the snow waiting and looking for about 30 mins, the stars themselves were very impressive but not the Northern Lights. Reluctantly we all got up and started our walk back, but before we made it 100 ft Mikael turned and saw some lights. We all excitely turned back around and enjoyed the view. It was a green haze just over the tree line, much brighter than our previous sight, but not what one sees in the pictures. We all attempted some pictures, but not much was able to be caught with camera.... it was hard to adjust setting in the dark with gloved hands. I was able to get a shot or two that gave the impression of the lights, but I hoped that I'd be able to get some better ones another night.

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